US Government Has Finally Tested How Toxic Monsanto’s Roundup Is
Unsurprisingly, Monstanto’s weedkiller Roundup, is even more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate, according to a study by US government researchers. But despite a number of warning signs and rampant, global use of the product, it took almost 45 years for the US National Toxicology Program to conduct such a study on human cells.
Monsanto put Roundup on the market in 1974, and since then, its active ingredient glyphosate has become the most widely used agricultural chemical in the world.
In a 1992 study, the NTP reported that glyphosate showed little signs of toxicity or DNA damage in rodents. But as more evidence started to come out, including a contentious 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer study showing the chemical was a probable human carcinogen, it became harder to ignore evidence of its destructive properties.
Monsanto has gone to great lengths to suppress studies that suggest its product is harmful, notably from the IARC, a branch of the World Health Organization. Monsanto’s tactics included ghostwriting research that stated glyphosate was safe and hiring academics to claim it as their own peer-reviewed studies.
But in 2003, a leaked email from within Monsanto suggested it knew of the dangerous effects of its product. The memo stated: “For example, you cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen… we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.”
But this most recent study by the NTP is even more damning than previous data about glyphosate formulations, finding that Roundup as a whole was much more toxic than glyphosate alone. The study found that Roundup decreased human cell viability by disrupting cell membranes, and that cell viability was significantly altered by glyphosate formulations.
Traces of the chemical are commonly found not only in food eaten by millions, but in parks, playgrounds and public spaces. And over the past few decades, it’s estimated that human consumption of glyphosate has risen by 500 percent.
Many countries have banned the use of Monsanto products including Roundup, and Germany is currently in the process of drafting legislation to significantly decrease its use in agriculture, while banning its use in households and public spaces.
Glyphosate was originally created as a descaling agent to clean out pipes, until Monsanto formulated it to spray on our food. Genetically modified, “Roundup Ready” crops have also been designed by Monsanto to survive Roundup application and are one of the company’s best-selling products.
At the moment, the NTP doesn’t have the formulation of Roundup because it is deemed a confidential business secret. Whether this latest report will pressure a government agency to mandate the company to submit its formulation for testing remains to be seen.